Point of Sale Systems and The Growing Market in Canada

Walking into one of the huge shopping outlets of today, like Wal-Mart, Auchan, or even COOP, you can see just how the retail industry has changed over the years in Canada. The days of making payments in cash only and waiting for your turn at the cash register are dying. And small businesses are growing rapidly thanks to current technology.

Customers are no longer carrying cash very often on their regular shopping trips, and they can be even more impatient if they have to wait in line to pay. Today, shopping in a supermarket can be a lot more entertaining compared to the past. The way today’s transactions are completed is a wonder. With plastic credit and debit cards and options like Touch-n-Go, quick, simple electronic payments are taking over.

Using technologies like NFC and RFID, even a credit card is not a necessity nowadays. Cell phones can provide easy swipe activated payment methods. According to Statista, mobile payment usage among global smartphone users was at 29 percent as of January 2013.

The Market Today

Giants in the industry are going head-to-head to come up with some of new and innovative ideas to attract more customers. Services such as Shopify are allowing business owners the ability to track all aspects of store performance right from an iPad. Freedom of this kind doesn’t just make the work easier, it also helps get the right product in the right place at the right time.

The total number of credit card transactions in the Canada alone totaled 26.2 billion in 2012, as stated by a 2013 Study. It is no wonder that payment processing partners like VISA and MasterCard are developing advanced payment systems and are working on ways to eliminate the very need to carry a wallet. The power of NFC (Near Field Communication) allows customers to access bank details right from their phone while getting the payment done with, and all the while taking care that the lines are secured for payment.

There is constant development and investment going into every single element of POS terminals. Information input and cloud integration are constantly being updated and improved. RFID systems today are able to calculate the worth of a cart before the customer even reaches the checkout counter. That is the kind of innovation you are getting to see.

The Elements of POS

In considering a Point of Sale system, you should know some of the various hardware elements. There are:

  • Touch screens or keyboards for input
  • Card Readers
  • Barcode Scanners
  • Receipt Printers
  • Cash drawers
  • RFID/NFC readers

This list is not exhaustive. A number of other add-ons exist in the market to help both you and your customer. An efficient POS system will not only speed up the entire billing process and make the work of the salesperson easier, it can also help you keep an eye on your inventory and sales history with live updates.

The changing economic system

Markets in Canada today have become much more competitive than they ever were. Prices are being set in the most competitive environments and the customer has a host of choices when it comes to picking their prefered shopping location. It is imperative that you do all you can to offer customers a unique and engaging shopping experience.

Some of the best names in the market are not only working on personalized service to repeat customers, but also on developing innovations in the realm of rewards and customer retention. From faster deliveries to free upgrades, shopping has never been this unique.

POS systems have provided innovations that have revolutionized the way payments are processed, the way customers purchase their items, and the way businesses are managed. With the need for cash and card diminished, there is a whole new world of possibilities available. With features like loyalty programs allowing customers to gather points for purchases and pay up using those accumulated points, there are a lot of options for businesses to reward and attract customers.

Massive investments are being made in the field of POS terminals in hopes of further improving the various capabilities of POS systems. The use of technologies like QR codes, NFC, and RFID has sped up the checkout process tremendously. Today, customers find themselves waiting in the queue for much less time than ever before . With the current rate of technological development, it might be that the time of fully automate POS systems is fast approaching. Perhaps some day in the near future, grocery stores and retail outlets will no longer have need of cashiers and customers can come and go as they please with automated digital wallets interfacing with the POS system for payment.

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How to Save Money on Your Mortgage

The house with the moss green paint.Do you currently have a mortgage payment that you make each month? Have you ever figured out how much you will actually pay for your house after all the principle and interest payments over the full term of the loan? If you bought your house for $200,000, even with a 4% interest rate you will pay almost $400,000 over the 30-year term of the mortgage! What if I told you that you could reduce that by $100,000? Sounds too good to be true right? It’s not. In fact, it is fairly simple.

Saving Money on Those Pesky Interest Payments

Even with a low interest rate, you still end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments over the course of your home mortgage. But, whoever decided that a 30 year mortgage is the best way to go? What if you shrink down the time-frame of the mortgage payback? True, you might pay a few hundred extra dollars each month, but the savings on interest is phenomenal!

Think about it. When you decide to start investing in your company 401k, what is the most important thing they always tell you? To start early. Let the interest work to your benefit. When borrowing money, you need to think the opposite. To save on the interest payments, you will want to pay off your home as soon as possible. Instead of a 30 year mortgage, consider a 15 year mortgage. Or, if you are able, take a look at the 5 year mortgage rates in Canada. Not only will you be debt-free sooner (which will improve your cash flow each month), but you will also save a ton of money on interest!

Live Well Below Your Means

One of the more radical options that very few people think about is living well below their means. Instead of always buying a bigger and better house, why not downsize or live a little farther out of town? By owning a smaller house that costs less, you will obviously save money on your mortgage payments, but there are many other savings that go along with this as well:

  • Save on cleaning costs
  • Save on heating/cooling costs
  • Save on maintenance costs
  • Save on insurance costs
  • Save on priceless time!

By owning a smaller house, you provide yourself with much fewer expenses and let me tell you, it’s amazing. My friend bought a home a few years ago for just $75,000 and he will likely pay it off by the end of this year. The property is easily managed and is very cheap to heat and cool (with the smaller size). In a couple of years he will need to get the roof replaced, but since the roof is a fairly low square footage amount, a complete redo will only cost $5,000 instead of the usual $15,000+ for an average home. And, with a cheaper house, there is a lower cost to insure it. Finally, my most favorite advantage is time. With such an easily managed property, he can easily come and go without even thinking about anything. His time is priceless and enjoys the fact that he does not need to waste time cleaning and fixing a mansion.

So if you haven’t bought a house yet, step one is to buy one that is well within your means, then pay it off quickly and enjoy your life! You’ll likely learn to love your house and most importantly, you’ll love your life.

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Are There Really Any Reasons to Drink Bottled Water

One of the fastest growing businesses over the past 10 years has been bottled water. At first, it just seemed to be an unnecessary fad, and then it turned into a pretty nice convenience for those that enjoy hiking, camping, and exercising. After all, rather than having to find a drinking fountain or a clean stream, you could just pull out your bottle of water and know exactly what you’re drinking.

But then, it actually went far beyond just that. Bottled water companies have done a great job marketing their product and also in destabilizing our certainty in our very own tap water. I recently heard an ad that explained how clean and pure their bottled water was, and then they posed the question, “Do you really want to know what you’re drinking from your faucet?” They made tap water sound so bad with that question, but they of course didn’t back up that question with any factual evidence that proved there was anything wrong with tap water. So, today, you’ll not only see bottled water in the hands of everyone while they’re out on the road, but you’ll also see refrigerators stocked full of them! Is this really necessary? And this can’t be eco-friendly, can it?

Bottled Water is Just Water

While there are claims from every bottled water company that their water is the best and the most pure, their water is still just water, and is hardly any different than what we drink from our tap. But, by claiming that their water is superior, they are able to charge a huge price compared to your tap water. For instance, let’s say that you can find a bottle of water for $1. It sounds like a good deal compared to that $4 Frappuccino or your $2 soft drink, but that still leaves your with a cost of 5 cents per ounce, which equates to $6.40 per gallon. Do you know how much your tap water costs? About $0.01 per gallon. That bottled water is a rip-off.

Terrible For the Environment

Do you have any idea how much plastic waste is created each year just from bottle water alone? 1.5 million tons of waste per year! Not only are we overspending on the water, but we are loading up our landfills at record rates! You might be thinking, “But I thought that many of these plastic bottles are recyclable?” While this is true, the bottles actually have to be recycled in order to be reused. Many of the bottles are just thrown away (about 80% of them), and still others are just thrown alongside the road and into our streams and oceans. Overall, these bottles are not improving our environment. Nope, they are in fact hurting it tremendously.

So What Can You Do?

Quite obviously, the first step is to stop buying those plastic bottles. Instead, go to your local store and pick up a stainless steel water container. Fill it up with that tap water and you’ll not only be saving yourself a bunch of money, but you’ll also be saving the environment at the same time!

 

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